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To all my future brides…don’t lose sight of what really matters.

 

Three weeks before her wedding, Lainie Schultz, 28, shaves off her beautiful thick brown hair with the help of her fiancé Joseph Jones, 27, her father Jeffrey Schultz, and her brother Joey Schultz.

Before taking the clippers to her hair, Lainie easily pulls out a handful of hair from her scalp to show me. She laughs, “Isn’t this disgusting?”

 Over the past four years, Lainie has had breast cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma, and she is now fighting metastatic breast and thyroid cancer. Lainie’s first encounter with cancer occurred when she was only 18 months old; at that time being diagnosed with adrenal cancer. She was in remission until 2008 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was at that time her doctors diagnosed her with a P-53 gene mutation, an extremely rare genetic disorder called Li-fraumeni Syndrome. Only 1,000 known people in the entire world have this genetic disorder.

This is not another cancer story. This is a story about devotion, love and marriage for a generation that has completely commercialized the wedding process. From television shows like Say Yes to the Dress to Platinum Weddings, to the hundreds of magazines, web sites and blogs – devoted to the wedding industry – it is no small business. It is true, brides-to-be have become obsessive with the idea of a perfect wedding. As a former newspaper photojournalist who has spent the past five years photographing weddings, I have seen it all. From brides throwing tantrums to crying over their flower arrangements. A wedding is like any other day, sometimes things don’t go as planned. What makes me sad is when couples forget why they are throwing a big wedding in the first place. Love. Commitment. Friendship.

Lainie Schultz and her fiancé Joseph Jones’ relationship inspired me. I felt compelled as a journalist to document their story leading up to their wedding on March 3rd, 2012. Lainie and Joseph met in 2004 when they worked together at Abercrombie and Fitch. Lainie had not been sick since she was an infant, she did not give much thought to the idea of having cancer again. However, four years into Lainie and Joseph’s relationship, Lainie was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer. Joseph was there to support her throughout her treatment. In 2010 when Lainie had a hysterectomy because doctors were concerned about a mass that had grown on her ovary, Joseph consoled his future wife telling her that he’d rather have her in his life than have biological children. Their honeymoon will be anything but cliché, being spent at the Northwest Oncology Center in Coral Springs, FL where Lainie will receive her third chemotherapy treatment since her last diagnosis. My hope is that Lainie and Joseph’s compelling love story inspires a new generation of brides and grooms, to keep sight of what is really important when planning your big day…the two of you.

It is a marriage, not just a wedding.

Laine Schultz, 28, pulls out a clump of her hair, which is falling out by the fistfull since beginning chemotherapy in Janurary.

Three weeks before their wedding, Lainie’s fiance, Joesph Jones, shaves his future bride’s hair.

Lainie tells her father, Jeffrey Schultz, that the razor was starting to burn her scalp.

Lainie and Joseph’s dog, Stella, observe the locks falling onto the floor.

Jeffery Schultz tries on his daughter’s wig. “In a situation like this, you have to have a sense of humor,” he says.

Lainie, bald for the first time.

All smiles, Lainie uses FaceTime on her cell phone to show her brother Brian the new look.

On February 9th, 2012, Lainie receives her second round of chemotherapy since her diagnosis at the Northwest Oncology Center in Coral Springs, FL. To clean out her port, Lainie’s nurse, Jana Golfin, injects the port with saline.

Lainie’s friend, Nicky Hale, waits with her while she receives her chemotherapy treatment. The treatment will last about 3-4 hours.

The wedding day is close. Lainie goes for her final dress fitting at Zola Keller in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

 

Joseph and Lainie sort through their RSVPs to to plan their guest seating.

Lainie’s new Facebook status on February 26, 2012.

Lainie and her mother, Kathy Schultz, put together welcome bags for their out-of-town guests. The custom bags read “All you need is love.”

The afternoon of her wedding on Saturday,  March 3rd, 2012, Lainie gets her makeup done in her hotel suite at the Chesterfield Hotel in Palm Beach, FL.

 

Lainie’s cousin and bridesmaid, Micole Bag, watches Lainie center her hair after her makeup is complete.

Chandon Jones, left, and Lainie’s mother adjust the crinoline under Lainie’s bridal gown.

 

 

The newlyweds have a lot to celebrate after being announced husband and wife at the Harriet Himmel Theater in Palm Beach, FL.

The reception set up ran an hour late, but neither the bride or groom noticed as they enjoyed their cocktail hour.

 

“It was the best night of my life!” said Lainie.

Wearing their bride and groom Minnie and Mikey hats, Lainie receives another round of chemotherapy the Monday morning after her wedding.

“This is our honeymoon!” Lainie says with a laugh and smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alanna - March 6, 2012 - 9:18 pm

Thank you for sharing their story, Emily. Beautifully written & beautiful photos! Mazal tov to Lainie and Joseph – even though i don’t know you, I’m thinking of both of you and your families and hoping for good health for Lainie!

trisha zuckerman - March 6, 2012 - 10:14 pm

Determination, spirit, sheer guts… that is you lainie… and Joseph… you are one amazing guy…

Kara Starzyk - March 6, 2012 - 10:55 pm

I had the pleasure of meeting Lainie a couple of years ago during a photo shoot for the Sun Sentinel. Her strength, and beautiful smile, have stayed in my memory. Congratulations to them on their marriage. And thank you for sharing their true love story.

Suzanne Brooks - March 6, 2012 - 11:31 pm

Romeo and Juliet have NOTHING on Lainie and J.J.!

Teddy and Lulu send love to Stella…and we send our admiration and greatest hopes to you both.

Marion - March 7, 2012 - 4:12 am

That is an amazing story of love, committment, and strength. May you both have a long and wonderful life together…

Sheryl Weiner - March 7, 2012 - 5:00 am

Such inspiration!! And told in such a beautiful way!

Melanie - March 7, 2012 - 6:33 am

You both are truly amazing. Lainie, your strength inspires me. Joseph, you are an example of what a man should be. Congrats to you both.

Robin Bersson - March 7, 2012 - 6:36 am

What a beautiful and provocatively touching story about love and commitment and courage and embracing each moment of our lives. I dont know Lainie but my dad, David Schultz, and Lainie’s grandfather, Leonard, were 1st cousins, and the way life occurs sometimes, there was a family breech; but i would like to let you know that i am deeply moved and wish you both a wonderful life together filled with many beautiful future celebrations. Robin

Analise - March 7, 2012 - 7:40 am

Emily, you did an amazing job on this documentary and at the wedding! Thank you for telling two of my very dear friends amazing and unique love story! They are the most amazing people I know and I am so thankful and proud for calling them my true friends!! Lainie you are the biggest trooper with biggest smile on your face! Don’t ever let that go! Lainie and J I love you both very dearly and you both only deserve the best! Congrats Mrs. & Mr. Jones’!!! Xoxo

Lexie - March 7, 2012 - 8:19 am

Emily,
You did an absolutely amazing job capturing and amazing couple. You can feel her spirit and their love. What a beautiful story!

Janet Gusar - March 7, 2012 - 8:45 am

Beautiful job Emily! Lovely couple…very moving story!~ox

jill dubin - March 7, 2012 - 9:53 am

Lainie,we’ve known you since Pinewood days and Joseph,we’ve never met..but it would be our honor to meet you! You both are amazing examples of true love,commitment,and perseverance…Our love and best wishes to you both…Jill and Josh

Glenn Mednick - March 7, 2012 - 12:08 pm

Lainie,

You are an inspiration to us all. We love you.

The Mednick Family

Lainie - March 7, 2012 - 1:31 pm

Emily you are so amaZing thank you for asking me to share my story with you. You are so incredibly talented and I thank you for doing this on your own time and out of your own free will. Joseph and I loved working with you for our wedding and love this piece u put together on our special love story! Xoxo lainie

Ellen & Harvey Kleiner - March 7, 2012 - 2:58 pm

With this much courage, determination, spirit and love, you two are surely destined for a brilliant future. You are an inspiration to us all.
Much Love
Harvey and Ellen Kleiner

Mari Darr~Welch - March 7, 2012 - 3:47 pm

Beautiful! You have shown people that love is not all about the material aspects, it is so much deeper than that. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing!

Douglas - March 7, 2012 - 3:59 pm

What a beautiful couple inside and out! We wish you a world of love and togetherness.

Tracey Stokes - March 7, 2012 - 4:01 pm

I love it! What an amazing love story told and documented with such beauty! Lainie and JJ are a good reminder to us all what is really important in life. It is such an honor to know you both and a privilege to have you in my daily life. Ari and I were thrilled to share this joyous occasion with you. XOXO

Geoff - March 7, 2012 - 4:24 pm

Amazing story and awesome pics to go along with it.

Suzy osborne - March 7, 2012 - 6:30 pm

Lainie i have heard ali( my niece) talk about you for years and years! I admire your strength that u and joseph share together!! Good luck to both of u but most imprtant good health! Love, suzy

Juliana - March 7, 2012 - 6:49 pm

Emily, this is absolutely beautiful. Such an amazing story that really does make you realize the important things in life. We get so caught up in drama and nonsense that we forget. Like you said, its not about the wedding but the marriage! God bless this wonderful couple and thank you to them and to you for sharing their story!!!

Jeanne - March 7, 2012 - 6:50 pm

Beautiful, simply beautiful and magical. Thank you for showing their journey.

Emily - March 7, 2012 - 7:20 pm

This is such and amazing story and so well written, thanks for sharing. That is true love and I wish them both the best in health and happiness!!

Ashley Levine - March 7, 2012 - 9:55 pm

Amazing story, wish you both the best!! Love you Lainie!!

Feige Luterman - March 8, 2012 - 5:20 am

Dear Lainie,
I have met you over the years with your aunt Shelley and uncle Lowell,and through them I have seen you grow up and become a beautiful, and strong woman and such an exemplary role model for others who are struggling with illness.
We all admire you and wish you and Joseph a long life together filled with love, joy and good health.

Seymour and Feige Luterman

Evan Kaye - March 8, 2012 - 7:11 am

Love you Lainie. Keep kicking add and inspiring everyone along the way.

The Simon Family from TBO - March 8, 2012 - 7:29 am

Mazel Tov on your beautiful wedding. May the years ahead bring health and happiness! You inspire us all!

Flo - March 8, 2012 - 8:14 am

Congratulations, Lainie! You and your family are in my thoughts!

Jaimie Gossett - March 8, 2012 - 8:45 am

Beautiful story! As a bride myself and going through the stress of planning the “perfect wedding” I drew inspiration from this story to re-evaluate what is important and put the day into perspective. Thank you for that, Lainie & Joseph!

Denise - March 8, 2012 - 10:28 am

What an amazing story. I am an event coordinator that does weddings for a caterer and have been in the same battle since last August. Most of my couples have been amazing to work with during this process and have made it so much easier. Lanie is an inspiration for sure!

Alexa Picolo - March 8, 2012 - 10:44 am

Amazing story. The wedding was a great turn out. Enjoyed spending time with you two. Cousin Joseph and Lainie, I wish you two the best. Love Always, Alexa.

Martin Pena - March 8, 2012 - 11:13 am

Absolutely beautiful. My brother just lost his wife to cancer, and you captured this story beautifully. Thanks for sharing :-) .

Sue Sutherland - March 8, 2012 - 11:24 am

Congradulations Lainie & Joseph – you are both amazing. This is a true story of LOVE. Thinking of you with love from your friends in New Zealand

Kay Moreland - March 8, 2012 - 11:43 am

This is what true love is all about! What a beautiful story. It isn’t about a honeymoon, it is about finding that person who will never leave your side for the rest of your life. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness and love!

yoram amihud - March 8, 2012 - 12:14 pm

lainie and family –
one short word – inspiring!!
mazal tov, and many many years of health and happiness.

Jennifer Jones - March 8, 2012 - 1:45 pm

To the newest Mr and Mrs. Jones on be half of their beautiful love affair, Blessed am I and all those who witnessed this truly remarkable new beginning on 3.3.12! May the Peace and Love of God continue to be ever present in your lives.

Amilda - March 8, 2012 - 2:01 pm

You are my inspiration!
A big kiss

stephanie - March 8, 2012 - 3:40 pm

Your story made me cry, be thankful, be inspired & make me want to spread this wonderful message. sending love to the bride & groom. they know what a marriage is really supposed to be. I’m a survivor & i understand. love to you all.

Barbara Stein - March 8, 2012 - 5:17 pm

Lainie reading this brought me to tears. You are beyond amazing & inspiring. I wish you both a life of love & happiness just as you’ve given to everyone whose life you’ve touched. Mazel Tov!! Love, Barbara

Lois Geisler - March 8, 2012 - 5:37 pm

Emily, you work is absolutely incredible and so is this story. Although I don’t know you, I do the Gora’s well and have heard about you. I wish you both much love and happiness. Couples could learn a lot from you.

Carol - March 8, 2012 - 9:07 pm

Lainie and Joseph ..With so much love and warm wishes surrounding you both I know you are destined for a lifetime of health, happiness and a forever love..Knowing you all these years ,watching you grow up and become the incredible person you are today Lainie, fills me with happiness just knowing that you and Joseph are so perfect for each other. Emily’s story and pictures shows everyone that love conquers all.It is inspiring and beautiful,just like you. Sending warmest wishes and love to you both…

Nicole Scoubes - March 8, 2012 - 11:10 pm

Lainie and Joseph Wish you both the best always, and I’m thankfull I was able to see your beautiful pictures!

Seth Denison - March 9, 2012 - 8:10 am

Incredible story! Incredible story teller! I wish all the best to Emily, Joseph and especially Lainie!

Erika - March 9, 2012 - 9:35 am

What beautiful photo documentation to a beautiful love story. Best wishes to all :)

Rahet Ali - March 9, 2012 - 12:31 pm

This world still has some amazing beautiful inspiring people!!!!!! I wish you two all the best!!!

Mitsouky McElhaney - March 9, 2012 - 9:14 pm

Beautiful story just lost my sis to cancer her service is tomorrow and this touching story made me smile.

Jennie - March 10, 2012 - 10:24 pm

All you ever do need is love. Truly a story that made me cry. I wish them both best.

bari itzkowitz - March 11, 2012 - 7:22 am

LAINIE-
YOU ARE PERFECT!
I MISS YOU!
KEEP GOING STONG!

Bobbie & Jerry Schechter - March 11, 2012 - 4:27 pm

Lainie, You have been an inspiration to everyone who knows you.
We love you.

Kathy Roberts - March 12, 2012 - 10:01 am

Incredible story! Thank you for sharing. So many people lose sight of what really matters. I wish you all the best.

karen - March 12, 2012 - 10:09 am

May God bless you all of the days of your lives. Lainie, you are my inspiration, my hero. Rock on, girl, rockbon.

Becky - March 12, 2012 - 11:21 am

Congratulations!!!! What a beautiful celebration!!!

jennifer mcnair - March 12, 2012 - 12:41 pm

Thank you so much for letting us be part of your story. I know your journey I am still fighting every day my husband is by my side. You are an amazing lady

Ashlee - March 12, 2012 - 4:19 pm

Hair doesn’t make a person, it’s what they carry in their facial features. Your face spills happiness and your smile is contagious! Congratulations!

Sally Camarillo - March 12, 2012 - 5:11 pm

I admire your courage and strength Lainie….go girl! May God bless you and your hubby always….Wishing you all the best!;))

Kerry Himmel - March 12, 2012 - 7:17 pm

She is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! My daughter just turned 20 and she too went thru chemo, for 2 1/2 yrs. She lost her hair 3 times but she too still looked so beautiful! It’s the inside of you, not the outside, that makes you who you are…..

Carolyne Sklar-Freidin - March 12, 2012 - 8:05 pm

The pictures and story depict what really is important in life-love, commitment and sharing; such an inspiring young couple and the photos capture their love, their spirit and family support beautifully. May their life be filled with love and laughter and Emily may you continue not only your amazing photography but in relating the stories associated with each couple.

Sandy Keller - March 12, 2012 - 10:30 pm

After 20 years in the wedding industry, love stories like this still make me cry. I wish every bride could keep in mind that what really matters at the end of the day is that she ends up married. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story…it brings everything into perspective!

[...] other personal moments in a weeks heading adult to their Mar 3 matrimony in Palm Beach, Fla. Harris’ photos of Schultz traffic with cancer while formulation her matrimony have perplexed thousands [...]

Susan Victor - March 14, 2012 - 2:23 pm

This is a beautiful testimony of Love, Commitment and true friendship and I could go on and on… This is the quality of love we need to witness more often in the world today. It’s not just about the wedding day, it’s so much more than that. May God bless you both!

suzanne reid - March 14, 2012 - 4:17 pm

I am really happy for the bride and groom; this story touched me profoundly …. at least she / they found happiness and love…
that is what rally counts! I ponder this as I think of my only child who just past away 1 year ago ( sudden death due to an aneurysm to the aorta rupturing at the entrance of his heart)… he was only 29 — he was looking for a bride — he wanted to get married but he never found her…- maybe in heaven he will…
I am so happy for you and your families that you had this wonderful love story and that you all agreed to share it with me.
suzanne reid /Port Charlotte / Florida
I want to THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR STORY!
I wish you ALL the very BEST and I will pray for you for complete and speedy HEALING!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[...] other personal moments in a weeks heading adult to their Mar 3 matrimony in Palm Beach, Fla. Harris’ photos of Schultz traffic with cancer while formulation her matrimony have perplexed thousands [...]

Anna - March 14, 2012 - 6:58 pm

May you both be ever blessed for all the insight you have given others!! You are treasured friends that had found one another and now lifelong compassionate spouses! You are so truly to be admired for all the strength and hope that you possess! Rock on! There is nothing that the 2 of you cannot conquer! Be Happy and continue to remain Healthy!! You are both in my special thoughtful prayers! God Bless Anna

Donna - March 14, 2012 - 8:24 pm

Wow…thank you to Lainie and Joseph for being so willing to share your journey…so inspiring….and thank you to the journalist….

Kristi - March 14, 2012 - 8:45 pm

Lainie and Joseph you two are amazing! I am a 3yr survivor of cervical cancer and I went thru an emergency hysterectomy prior to the chemo and radiation treatments…so I know a little about what you are going through. I did not have a port ..i had a picline that is inserted in your arm and goes straight to your heart. I too am truly blessed with a wonderful man at my side…of 19 yrs on this past valentine’s day! And 3 beautiful children and a dog. It takes a special partner to be strong enough to be a caregiver–Joseph you seem to be that great guy…stay strong. Lainie I wish you the best…you are a remarkable women to stay that strong in the hand that you’ve been delt with. It truly is in your state of mind. May God continue to be with you both cuz miracles do happen–you are already a sign of that!

Jamie Lipman - March 14, 2012 - 9:20 pm

This is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in quite awhile. What an incredible reality check. What a gorgeous love displayed and there could be no one better to capture the heart of this story than Emily Harris.

Lisa Main - March 14, 2012 - 9:30 pm

Wow… speechless… God bless you both. What a beautiful couple; inside and out.

[...] other personal moments in the weeks leading up to their March 3 wedding in Palm Beach, Fla. Harris’ photos of Schultz dealing with cancer while planning her wedding have captivated thousands [...]

Cynthia - March 15, 2012 - 6:51 am

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”

That’s a quote by Bill Cosby. That quote got me through my treatment with a smile on my face (as often as I could muster one). I wish you both the very best and hope you can continue to find the joy in life, even when it’s not “perfect”.

Shelly S. Lufkin - March 15, 2012 - 8:46 am

Beautiful story! I, too have the Li-Frameni syndrome and although I had a preventative mastectomy four years ago — i was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Simiar to you, i am the only one in my family with this gene mutation – my baby daughter saved my life when she was diagnosed at 9 months with adrenal cell carcinoma. We have to keep lovibg and living and not be afraid. ManY people with this would just stop living and I am so glad you are thriving! I just shaved my head too due to chemo! Congrats on your wedding and Enjoy every moment you have!

Leslie - March 15, 2012 - 10:55 am

This is a true testimony of what devotional love and commitment is truly about. What an inspirational story. I wish all the health and happiness to you both and when you’re all good and healthy again, take the honeymoon of your dreams! You guys deserve it.

Tambre Leighn/coaching by tambre - March 15, 2012 - 11:23 am

Stunningly beautiful story and photographs. May it inspire others to get real and get living.

Monica - March 15, 2012 - 12:33 pm

What a touching beginning! As I smile through tears, this love story and heroism of the bride reminds me to take nothing for granted and enjoy every-single-minute I have with my love.

Thank you!
~m

Yvette & Stan Yoslov - March 15, 2012 - 7:14 pm

Lainie you are a true inspiration. We are so happy to know you and to have shared your wedding day Thank you for all you do.
Yvette & Stan

Tracy Jackson - March 22, 2012 - 1:57 pm

Wow. Great images, better story! The fierce bravery and unyielding determination to live their lives no matter what are really inspiring and energizing.

Thanks for sharing!

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